Saudi Arabia quarantines dozens linked to coronavirus case, restricts entry for GCC residents and citizens

Saudi Arabia quarantines dozens linked to coronavirus case, restricts entry for GCC residents and citizens
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Updated 04 March 2020

Saudi Arabia quarantines dozens linked to coronavirus case, restricts entry for GCC residents and citizens

Saudi Arabia quarantines dozens linked to coronavirus case, restricts entry for GCC residents and citizens
  • Kingdom places travel restrictions on GCC residents and citizens who have been outside Gulf countries
  • Some 1,400 isolation rooms had been set up in the Kingdom’s hospitals

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia moved on Tuesday to tighten its borders amid the growing global threat from the coronavirus.

The Kingdom, which has reported only one case of the infection, barred people from other GCC countries from entering Saudi Arabia for 14 days after returning from areas where the virus is present. Travelers from another Gulf state must spend 14 consecutive days in that country and show no signs of the coronavirus.

Saudi citizens or residents entering from a GCC country must inform authorities in the Kingdom of any travel outside the GCC in the preceding 14 days. Everyone entering by land, including the Bahrain causeway, will be screened.

Saudi Arabia announced its first coronavirus case on Monday - a Saudi who had traveled from Iran via Bahrain over the King Fahad Causeway. Iran has one of the worst outbreaks outside of China, where COVID-19 originated.

A Saudi Ministry of Health spokesman on Tuesday said the infected person was in a stable condition and is being monitored by medical staff. 

Some 70 people who had been in physical contact with the person are now in quarantine.

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Civil aviation chiefs have also stepped up preventive measures at airports and on Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia). Medical teams are examining all passengers from virus-prevalent areas, aircraft at risk of infection are being deep cleaned and sterilized, and Saudia is offering masks, cleansing kits and anti-bacterial wipes to passengers and crew.

There have been about 2,500 cases of the virus in the Gulf, almost all in or linked to Iran, which has been accused of covering up the extent of the infection despite reporting the highest number of deaths outside China. 

Authorities in Tehran said on Tuesday the country had 2,336 cases and 77 deaths. The death rate of 3.3 percent of those infected is similar to the global rate and suggests that Iran is finally telling the truth about the virus’s spread.

In the UAE, which has reported 21 cases, an international yoga festival and the Ultra electronic music festival in Abu Dhabi this month were canceled, as were the Music Bank K-pop concert and a Hindu Holi festival in Dubai. The flagship Art Dubai fair was postponed,  along with a women's forum and the opening round of the 2020 World Triathlon Series in Abu Dhabi.

Authorities in Muscat canceled a defense exhibition and postponed the Oman Petroleum & Energy Show. Qatar canceled a defense exhibition and Bahrain postponed two oil and gas conferences until the second half of the year. Kuwait moved the regional multisport GCC Games from April to December, closed its zoo and banned shisha.

Worldwide, the coronavirus has infected more than 90,000 people and killed about 3,100 in 77 countries, although almost all in China, where it was first detected last December. Ukraine became the latest to report its first case on Tuesday.

In the US, where there are fewer than 100 virus cases but widespread fears of economic repercussions, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates by half a percentage point to 1-1.25 percent.

“The fundamentals of the US economy remain strong. However, the coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity,” the central bank said.


Cabinet reaffirms Saudi commitment to Yemen security, development

Updated 02 December 2020

Cabinet reaffirms Saudi commitment to Yemen security, development

Cabinet reaffirms Saudi commitment to Yemen security, development

NEOM: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reaffirmed its keenness on achieving security and development for the people of Yemen.
The Cabinet urged moving forward to implement the Riyadh Agreement to promote peace and stability, through a a comprehensive political solution.
The Cabinet also addressed the recently announced Digital Cooperation Organization, which sees Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and Pakistan participating in the initiative.
The agreement aims to strengthen cooperation across all innovation-driven areas and accelerate the growth of the digital economy.
The ministers also reviewed efforts to uproot corruption in the Kingdom, highlighting an agreement co-signed by the Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to carry out the Riyadh Initiative, aiming at consolidating international cooperation among law-enforcing agencies relating to fighting corruption.
At the session, which was chaired virtually by King Salman because of the pandemic, the Kingdom reiterated its denunciation of the terrorist attack that targeted civilians in Nigeria. The attack, near Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, left over 40 people dead over the weekend.
The Cabinet reaffirmed the Kingdom’s stand along the side of Nigeria against such heinous acts which target lives of the innocents and destabilize security and stability, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.
The government also authorized the interior minister to sign a MoU with the UK’s Home Office on cooperation in the field of civil defense and civil protection.
The Cabinet also authorized the Board of Directors of the Communications and Information Technology Commission to hold public auctions for the frequency spectrum for commercial purposes.
The ministers also approved the Juvenile Law and the Chambers of Commerce Law.